for Tanzania Education Corp. | (Python, Django)
JengaMtandao, or "build the Internet" in Swahili, is an application I wrote for students to compete with each other in realtime to develop web pages that match a provided goal. Each challenge consists of an initial HTML block that students start working with, and a goal HTML block that can be rendered onscreen at the push of a button at the bottom of the interface. Students are expected to write out the code that transforms the intial HTML into the goal; once they have completed a challenge, an instructor enters a password to allow them to proceed to the next challenge.
The text editor is an instance of the Ace editor embedded into the application. Primary points are assigned for being the first girl or boy in a class to complete a challenge, followed by secondary points for overall challenge completion, then tertiary points ranking students by motivation (in other words, for completing challenges sooner rather than later based on submission timestamps). Developing this application and giving students access to it during class time has been remarkably effective at encouraging class participation, learning retention, and overall motivation to learn. It also encourages student collaboration: those who have passed a challenge are in demand by their peers, all of whom are encouraged to help each other and work together notwithstanding the competitive nature of the application.